Purchasing an acupressure mat is significantly cheaper in the long-run and can provide effective pain-relief on a daily basis. Many use acupressure mats as a ‘top-up’ of sorts in between acupuncture or professional acupressure treatments. Acupressure is based on the same principles as Japanese Shiatsu Massage, and the Indian tradition of the ‘bed of nails’. These mats are very popular in Scandinavian countries, with some office workers foregoing their coffee at break-time for a quick lie down on their acupressure mat to energize themselves instead! The general rule is that anything less than twenty minutes is energizing, anything more becomes increasingly relaxing. Some people even sleep on them.
Using Acupressure Mats
Acupressure mats are generally safe, both for children and adults, although those who are pregnant or have specific medical conditions should, as always, check with their physician before beginning any new therapeutic activity. The mats can be modified for personal use in troublesome spots, such as the head, neck, shoulders, back, feet, and even the wrists. Although the spikes look very sharp they are rarely painful as there are so many that the weight of the neck, shoulders, and back are evenly distributed. Gently easing into position is the best way of beginning a session, and a pillow case or thin sheet can be placed over the top of the mat the first few times until familiar with the sensation.
Advantages of Acupressure Mats
Another advantage of acupressure mats is that they have thousands of pressure points, meaning that the whole neck and shoulder area can be stimulated and widespread pain can be relieved. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of self-treating with acupressure. The Spoonk Rider has a mammoth 6210 small pressure ‘spikes’, which can easily cover several problem areas and apply pressure equally. Those using acupressure mats get a healthy dose of endorphin and oxytocin released into the system, which act as a natural relaxation agent and analgesic.
For specific neck pain relief the mat can be laid over a bolster, such as a rolled up towel, and the neck allowed to gently rest on the mat. This can help to induce muscle relaxation and, therefore, allow any tension that may be causing stiffness or pain in the neck to be eased without the need for medications or invasive treatment.
Acupressure for Neck Pain – Supporting Evidence
Using the mat regularly can keep the neck and back in good working order and alleviate chronic neck pain. Yip (2006) conducted a study on patients with chronic neck pain using acupressure, compared to a control group who received no treatment, and found that acupressure reduced neck pain and neck stiffness by 23%, with stress-reduction at 39%. This study also made use of lavender oil as an extra aid to relaxation, which can be achieved at home by sprinkling a few drops of lavender on the mat or using an oil diffuser. Yip’s study involved manual acupressure intervention, but the principles are very similar and comparable levels of comfort and pain relief are commonly experienced by those using acupressure mats.
Neck Pain Relief At Home